Onlookers

Sometimes, you look at a photo and you just don’t think too much of it. Then, when you have the chance to look at it again, you think better of it.

Such is the case with this photo here. I took the photo in a small town in northern Vietnam called Phutho. It was just a stop on the way from Sapa in the hills down to Hanoi in 2006.

I guess I liked the photo enough to scan it, though typically I do that only seeing the negative without a contact sheet. (The scan, in effect, allows me to see it as a positive.) Even though I scanned it, I must have not thought of it enough to prepare it for web posting.

Lately, though, I’ve been going through my scanned images in preparation for making postings to the new website that I’m working on. Looking at this image, perhaps more carefully than I did before, I realized that I liked it more than I did previously. It still shows an older woman with a hat and a wrapper around her head.

What really appeals to me now are the two onlookers in the background. Just look at the face of the man (her husband?) standing back there. I mean, his face is positively beaming with pride that I have selected the woman as a subject to photograph. The smiling young woman adds a nice touch to the image, too.

Perhaps that’s one reason why I like going to southeast Asia. People there often seem generally flattered to be photographed, at times becoming the point of conversation for the people around them.

It makes me think about something written by a noted landscape photographer who likes to work in Japan. In that country, he wrote, nobody ever hassles him about taking photographs – unlike in the United States, where some folks have threatened to blow his head off if he didn’t pack up his camera and leave.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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One Response to Onlookers

  1. Yes, I noticed the faces of the onlookers before I read the post (puffs self up for noticing), and I agree. These faces say so much. Great shot, Dave!

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